Coronavirus (Covid 19) – Update

While COVID has not gone away and the World Health Organisation still places it at pandemic level case shave declined to their lowest level in the UK since the pandemic began and the rate of infection has declined significantly.

Because of this the Barnet UNISON office has opened, however because of  individual officers’ and staff members’ own health and work situation  there may not always be someone in the office. Before visiting the office please email

 contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Or you can call 020 8359 2088, if we are unable to answer the telephone please leave a message speaking slowly and clearly please include your name, telephone number, membership number and a brief message about the assistance you require. We will respond as soon as we can.

Alternatively you can contact UNISON Direct Call Centre by telephone 

08000 857 857 Monday – Friday 6am – Midnight, Saturday 9am – 4pm

or make an online enquiry by clicking the following link

https://www.unison.org.uk/get-help/online-enquiries/

To Join UNISON click the following link 

https://join.unison.org.uk/

Insourcing win at Barnet council

Insourcing win at Barnet council

Over 300 staff in a variety of services like trading standards, environmental health and other regulatory services, will now be transferred back in-house

Staff at Barnet council are due to be transferred back to council employment thanks to a decade-long campaign by UNISON.

The 330 affected workers are currently employed by outsourcing multinational conglomerate, Capita, and are being brought back in house after the council was used as a test case for the outsourcing of local government services.

The staff who work under a joint venture called ‘Capita Re’ in a variety of areas like trading standards, environmental health, planning highways and other regulatory services, will be TUPE transferred back in house on 1 April this year.

In 2012, much of the service provision at the council was outsourced to Capita on decade-long contracts by the Conservative-controlled council, with the intervening 10 years marred by several controversies including a multi-million-pound fraud and contracts running vastly over budget.

Barnet’s UNISON branch has campaigned for services to be brought back in-house since the contracts were initially handed to Capita and there have already been major in-sourcing successes at the council.

In May last year, Labour won control of the council after 20 years of Conservative leadership and, though the contracts had already been due to end next year, the new council has fast-tracked plans by six months to bring some services back in house.

John Burgess, Barnet local government branch secretary, said: “This is good news for staff, good news for residents and good news for the services. I welcome the decision and look forward to welcoming back all the services back into Barnet Council where they all belong.

“For a decade, our branch has campaigned for local government services at Barnet to be brought back in-house and, while we are happy that this latest has been fast tracked, there are still many issues to address for our members who are being TUPE’d.

“These include workplace inequalities such as staff being paid differently for the same role. Barnet UNISON is already seeking discussions with the council about harmonisation of the terms and conditions of the TUPE’d workforce.

“During the worst cost of living crisis in 75 years it is imperative that our branch does it best to look after the interests of our members transferring back into the council.”

https://www.unison.org.uk/news/2023/01/insourcing-win-at-barnet-council/

 

Emergency HGV drivers depot meeting 1 February 5.45 am

Barnet UNISON carried out an informal ballot of our members on the offer of 10 % Recruitment/Retention for our HGV driver members.

97% of members rejected this offer.

Barnet Council has been paying social workers in Family Services Recruitment/Retention payments up to 20% for the past 5 years.

In the worst Cost of Living Crisis our members believe they are worth more than 10%.

We are calling a meeting of all drivers to discuss what happens to our claim. It is important that all drivers turn up to the meeting

Wednesday 1 February, 5.45 a.m.

End.

Emergency Barnet UNISON schools members meeting and advice

Dear Member

Early this week the National Education Union (NEU) announced that they have successfully completed a strike ballot for industrial action.

The NEU have announced the strike dates which will impact on Barnet Schools:

  1. Wednesday 1 February (England and Wales)
  2. Thursday 2 March (London, South East, South West)
  3. Wednesday 15 March (England and Wales)
  4. Thursday 16 March (England and Wales)

Our branch has already begun to receive communications from our members working in Barnet Schools as to what this means for them.

Today, Thursday 19 January 2023, we have received advice from UNISON National Advice.

Now that we have the advice we have decided to call an emergency Barnet UNISON schools meeting at which we will have speakers from the NEU. We have UNISON speakers ready to take questions on how we are going to support our members on these strike days.

The Barnet UNISON meeting is on Thursday 26 January 6-7 pm please click on the link below to join the meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85006232648?pwd=TC9lUWpWUWUyOTY1WjM3STBxQTk1Zz09

Meeting ID: 850 0623 2648

Passcode: 960864

Below is the UNISON advice to our members. We have highlighted in bold and underlined some key parts of the advice.

 “UNISON Advice

UNISON respects the rights of other trade unions to take industrial action and supports the other unions’ strike action. We urge members to support legal protests and rallies organised by NEU that take place outside your contracted hours of work.

However, UNISON members in schools and sixth form colleges have not been balloted for strike action or action short of strike action on this occasion and are therefore advised to continue with their normal duties and responsibilities.  UNISON members should not take on any additional responsibilities being given to them directly as a result of other unions’ industrial action.

Support staff should not be expected to provide cover for, or take classes, where this would normally be done by teachers who are taking action. Staff should not be moved from the duties they would normally have carried out in order to cover work and frustrate the industrial action of colleagues. This includes any staff employed as either HLTAs or Cover Supervisors. In Cymru/Wales, in workplaces where NEU members who are support staff are taking strike action, UNISON members should not be moved to cover those colleagues’ duties either.  Members who are under pressure to provide cover for striking colleagues should contact their UNISON rep, branch or region for further advice and support.

Members are reminded that due to industrial relations legislation only those employees who have been involved in a legal ballot are allowed to take industrial action.

HLTAs and Cover Supervisors

Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs) should only do ‘Specified Work’ with the support and/or supervision of a Qualified Teacher. Cover Supervisors supervise students who are working to a lesson prepared by a Qualified Teacher, usually a classroom teacher. If you are in either of these roles you should not be expected to take whole classes on the day of a strike if the teacher that normally supervises, supports or prepares your work is on strike.

DfE Guidance on Industrial Action in Schools (England only)

The DfE have updated and recirculated their guidance on industrial action in schools. The guidance is non-statutory, this means that schools are not obliged to follow the guidance.

Handling strike action in schools – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The advice makes clear that for maintained schools the decision on whether to close a school or not is the responsibility of the headteacher, and for academies it rests with the Trust. However, this decision is usually delegated to the headteacher.

The guidance is aimed at headteachers advising them on ways that they can try and keep their school open. This includes guidance on the recent government legislation allowing agency staff to cover strike action. UNISON is currently challenging the legality of this legislation and it is not accepted by many agencies. If you are aware of any instances of agency staff being brought in to cover striking colleagues, please report this to your regional office.

The guidance also suggests that schools can use some of the emergency measures introduced during the Covid pandemic to keep schools open, including asking staff to provide remote learning. We do not that accept this would fall within the definition of normal work for support staff and they should not be called on to deliver remote learning on strike days.”

If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Barnet UNISON office on email to contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or ring and leave a message on 0208 359 2088.

I look forward to seeing you all at our UNISON schools meeting next week on Thursday 26 January 2023.

 

Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary

Barnet UNISON

 

 

UNISON Direct Christmas Hours 2022

The Branch Office will be closed for the festive period from 24th December until 3rd January

If you need urgent assistance during this period please contact UNISON Direct on 08000 857 857

Their Christmas opening hours are:

23rd December 7am – 8pm

24th December Closed

25th December Closed

26th December Closed

27th December Closed

28th December 6am – midnight

29th December 6am – midnight

30th December 6am – midnight

31st December Closed

1st January 2023 Closed

2nd January 2023 Closed

3rd January 6am – midnight

Breaking Good News: All Community Schools to receive £150 Cost of Living payment

Barnet UNISON announced that Barnet Council would be making Cost-of-Living payment of £150 to all non-schools’ staff on grades A-E. Unfortunately, at the time the offer was made we were informed that this would not be made to staff in community schools for whom the council is the employer.

Barnet UNISON believed this was unfair as many of these members are low paid. We asked for Barnet Council to financially support Community Schools to enable them to make this much needed payment to their staff.

We can now confirm that we have just heard that Barnet Council have agreed one-off payment to school support staff on Grades A-E.

Please note this applies to all school staff for whom the council is the employer.

List of Barnet Community Schools are below. 

 

End.

Background 

Cost of Living Crisis one off payment to lowest grades except in community schools.

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2022/12/08/cost-of-living-crisis-one-off-payment-to-lowest-grades-except-in-community-schools/

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